International Mother Language Day 2024: Date, History, Theme, Significance, and Facts

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International Mother Language Day 2024

Humans communicate emotions and thoughts through language. From the birth of a baby till his last breath he understands everything through the mode of communication. Languages play an important role in the lives of the people. Therefore, International Mother Language Day is celebrated yearly to celebrate multilingualism and promote linguistic and cultural diversity across different countries. This special day is observed on 21 February on an annual basis. Stay tuned and read this article to learn more about International Mother Language Day 2024, its theme, history, significance, and more!

Also Read: Essay on Mother Tongue for School Students

When is International Mother Language Day?

International Mother Language is celebrated on 21 February every year. UNESCO organize the main event to celebrate this day. The event aims to glorify the importance of languages and to implement multilingual education policies and practices. Such future-driven steps act as pilar for the Sustainable Development Goals for the countries. 

This day was established in 1999, to protect the integrity and authenticity of more than 7000 languages in the world. 

Source: UNESCO New Delhi

International Mother Language Day 2024 Theme

The theme of this day is “Multilingual Education- a Necessity to Transform Education.” It highlights the implementation of multilingual education policies and transforms the education system. This day also aims to achieve several goals such as the Sustainable Development Goal for inclusive, quality education, and lifelong learning, and the International Decade on Indegioneous Language (2022-2032) to preserve the indigenous languages and promote their revitalization.

Also Read: How to Become a Polyglot?


The history of this day dates back to 1952 when Bengalis paid tribute by marching which was popularly known as Bengali Language Movement. The people of Bangladesh wanted the government to recognize Bengali as the official language of modern-day Bangladesh. For this, the movement held public rallies and meetings. The Bengali Language Movement’s mass procession march was attacked by police open fire. 

In 1955, Bangladesh observed the Language Movement Day as a National Holiday. 

This incident inspired the United Nations and in 1999, the UN declared 21 February as the International Mother Language Day. This step was taken to preserve various mother languages from being extinct. 

The first Mother Language Day at the Global level was held in 2000. Later in 2008, the UN declared that year as the International Year of Languages.

Source: International School Dhaka

Also Read: How to Learn New Languages? Fast and Effectively!

What is the Significance of the Day 21 February?

21 February marks International Mother Language Day which is celebrated to promote the use of mother languages. Many countries lack education in their mother tongue. 

This day is also celebrated to support learning through multilingual education and multilingualism in modern vulnerable global contexts. It also promotes the revitalization of languages which are on the verge of extinction.

Also Read: Benefits of Learning Local Language of a Country 

How to Celebrate International Mother Language Day?

Here is how you can celebrate this day:

  1. Take part in cultural activities that enable you to display your cultural language and its beauty and promote diversity.
  2. You can also start learning about the history of your mother tongue.
  3. Learn a new indigenous language.

Some Interesting Facts About International Mother Language Day

Source: There is a Day for That!
  1. The Sumerian Language written in 3000 BC is the oldest written language.
  2. Taushiro (Pinche) of the Peruvian Amazon is the least spoken language with only one living speaker and it is about to extinct.
  3. The Khmer language widely spoken language of Cambodia, has the largest alphabet with 74 characters.
  4. India Has Over 19,500 Mother Tongues.
  5. 90% of the 7,000 world languages are used by less than 1 lakh people. 

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Why is International Mother Language Day celebrated?

International Mother Language Day is celebrated to promote and preserve multilingualism, and cultural diversity. This day is celebrated after the Bengali Language Movement that inspired the United Nations. The first International Mother Language Day was celebrated on 21 February 2000.

What is the theme of International Mother Language Day 2024?

The theme of this day is “Multilingual Education- a Necessity to Transform Education.”

What is one interesting fact about International Mother Language Day?

International Mother Language Day is a day to encourage the protection and preservation of all languages. To remember those who lost their lives in the 1952 Bengali Language Movement, this day has been set apart. The government’s decision to designate Urdu as the only official language was opposed by the movement

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